Ever wonder why your tile grout turns black/brown over time? Or why, with time, your tile begins to loosen, and you see pieces of grout breaking off? Well, no one ever taught us how to properly care for our tile grout. We all thought it was relatively straightforward, no explanations needed. You just sweep and mop, bing bang, and you’re done, right?
We couldn’t have been more wrong. There is a proper way to care for tile grout and it begins with properly sealing tile grout. We’re about to give you some tile-life-saving advice as well as shed some light on Why You Shouldn’t Seal Your Own Tile Grout.
What is Tile Grout Sealant?
Above all else, tile grout sealing will be the savior of your tile grout and ensure long-lasting, beautiful tile grout. Grout sealant is vital in the longevity of your tile and grout if done properly. It is important to ensure that the process is being done correctly and that the right products are being used for the process.
Tile grout sealant protects the grout from natural deterioration, day-to-day wear, and helps to keep your tile cleaner, longer. Sealers typically protect unglazed tiles and grouts from absorbing stains, dirt, grime, mold, mildew, bacteria, and more!
With the proper (and professional) application, the tile and grout sealer should last about a year. 2 years on the areas of your tile that don’t see as much traffic.
Choosing The Wrong Tile Grout Sealant
DIY tile grout sealing can go terribly wrong for two reasons– improper application and incorrect sealant. Not all tile grout sealants are created with the same standard of protection. Every sealant performs best on certain types of tiles, and in certain environments, and it’s important to know which one you are choosing and for what.
Penetrating grout sealers absorb into the grout whereas, membrane-forming sealers do just that–create a coating on the surface of the grout that resists water penetration. Both have ideal situations.
Penetrating grout sealers are typically better for environments that will often see water, such as showers, steam rooms, and bathroom areas alike. This type of grout sealant fills the pores within the grout rather than coating the top so that the grout can still breathe, hence why this type of grout is best for wet environments that are more likely to have long-term water and mildew exposure.
As we said above, membrane-forming sealers do just that–create a coating on the surface of the grout that resists water penetration. While it can create a barrier on the top of the tile, it can also trap moisture underneath if this type of sealant is used in a wet environment. Therefore, it’s best to use this type of sealant in dry areas throughout the house, rather than moist areas such as bathrooms and showers.
Not All Grout Should Be Sealed
It is important to note that not all tile grout should be sealed, which is yet another reason why leaving grout dealing up to the Zerorez® professionals is a good idea.
You should only apply grout sealant to cement-based tile grout. Synthetic grouts such as epoxy and urethane do not need to be sealed; sealing synthetic grouts may do more harm than good for your precious tile grout.
As well, we would suggest not sealing your grout if it has been dyed, re-colored, or sealed with a synthetic-based grout colorant (such as epoxy, as mentioned above). Grout colorants contain a topical layer of sealer already in them, so there is no need to apply a sealant to this again, at least not for a long time.
As we said above, tile grout is typically cement-based and porous. Therefore it is susceptible to deterioration, the water damage that can lead to mold and mildew between and under the tiles, and deep-set stains.
Sealing grout properly is vital. You want to make sure you’re getting sealant spread evenly over all the tile grout surfaces. This can be a long and tedious process by hand, especially when one has not done the task before. As well, making sure you have an up-to-par deep cleaning done on the tile first, so as to ensure that no dirt, grime, or residue will be trapped once the sealant is applied.
Whis brings us to our next point:
Deep Cleaning Tile Grout Before Sealing
Before any tile grout sealing venture, you should ensure that the tile and grout have been deep cleaned properly. Sealing tile grout that has not been cleaned properly before sealing will permanently trap in any leftover dirt and grime under the protective layer, as we touched on above.
See, it’s easy to think that the more soap you use, the cleaner your tile floor will be, but it’s actually quite the opposite.
Soaps are full of chemicals that leave a thin layer of residue over your tile grout and floor. Given that tile grout is typically made from water, sand, and cement, you could say that tile grout is the sponge of the hard-floor world.
With the porous and absorbent nature of tile grout, it’s safe to assume that the more soap you pile onto the tile floor, the more residue will accumulate and start to build and soak into the tile grout. The more residue that is stuck in the tile grout, the easier it is for dirt to attach to it and stay.
Try more natural, green methods of cleaning your tile grout that won’t leave sticky residue behind on your grout. There are a few ways this can be done, but our personal favorite is zr Water®.
Should you choose Zerorez® Phoenix you won’t have to worry about this step, as we will always do a thorough deep cleaning with no-residue zr Water® before the tile grout sealing process begins.
Changing Your Grout
There does come a time when it’s necessary to redo the tile grout in your home. It’s only natural, nothing can last forever without a little wear and tear. After many years of use, you will begin to notice your tiles loosen, and your grout begins to chip away. This is how you know it’s time to say a final goodbye to your tile grout and start fresh again.
If you have the time and patience, changing grout or relaying tile can be done yourself– in fact, we’ve even heard it can be quite easy. But if you’re not quite into the idea, you can look to a professional tile laying company to do it for you.
Hey, why not use the opportunity to change up the vibe in the house? Choose a different type of tile, maybe even switch completely and try out some wood or vinyl– live on the edge? Remember what we taught you today– ask your tile installers to seal the tile and grout after installation, or call Zerorez® Phoenix and we’ll get it done for you!
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